A mass driver is a proposed method of non-rocket spacelaunch and better launches. There are two kinds: ground-based mass drivers, and on-board mass drivers that fling out large pieces of material into space to propel a spacecraft.
A ground-based mass driver is basically a big magnetic catapult. Short mass drivers would be sufficient to propel cargo into space. To send humans and delicate instruments into orbit, the mass driver would have to be several hundreds of kilometers long to avoid excessive g-forces.
On Earth, a fully functional (not just a prototype) mass driver could probably be constructed today using most of the same components as existing maglev trains.
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